Choctaw poker series runs April 7-24 in Oklahoma

March 26, 2016, Robert Kelly, Chris Cronin, Mary Bradley, Dick Stein  

The Choctaw Poker Series in Durant, Okla., runs April 7-24 and is a diversified series with $565-$1,080 buy-ins with $50K-$100K guarantees. Look for games such as limit hold’em, HORSE, Omaha/8 and PLO. Other tournaments include Big O and PLO/8, ladies, monster stack, seniors and high rollers. The televised NLHE main event features a $1 million guarantee for a $1,620 buy-in.

Running into early April is a Poker Night in America cash-game promotion. Playing 20 hours of $2-$5 NLHE or bigger will earn entry to a drawing for a $10K seat into the game. Play 20 hours of $1-$2 or $1-$3 NLHE also will earn entry to a drawing of the same. The televised cash game is April 23.

AMERISTAR KANSAS CITY: The Heartland Poker Tour makes a stop April 8-18. Seven events, including seniors and PLO, make up the schedule. Buy-ins are $120-$350 for preliminary events, while the main event sports a $1,650 buy-in. Plenty of main-event qualifiers are on the schedule as well as nightly tournaments. The room’s bad-beat jackpot was $180K-plus at press time. Visit Ameristar.com/Kansas-City or call 800-414-7000 and use HPTAKC as your code to get discounted rooms.

CHEROKEE CASINO WEST SILOAM SPRINGS: This eight-table room offers free Wi-Fi, USB phone chargers at every seat, tableside food service and free snacks. This month, players who log 30 hours of live play will earn entry into a $10K freeroll on May 8. Players can earn extra chips for every five hours beyond the 30. Be sure to play during the NCAA Final Four on April 2 and 4 as $50 splash pots will happen for every 25 points scored in each game.

Two tournament series are coming up: April 14-17 is the Spring Deepstack Series with $30K in guarantees and May 13-22 is the Cherokee Classic, which will feature $70K in guarantees.

At the end of February, the Ozark Championships concluded and Tulsa’s Carlton Bailey collected $11,674 in overcoming a field of 173 to win the $330 buy-in main event.

HARD ROCK CASINO TULSA: The Oklahoma State Poker Championships were in full swing at press time and the room’s bad-beat jackpot was $131K-plus. Play more than 40 hours monthly to qualify for a $15K freeroll. Players also can turn hours played into RunGoodGear.com apparel.

BOOT HILL CASINO: The poker room has a new location. Four 10-handed tables occupy space in the table-games area in the middle of the casino. This location is likely to attract more walk-by traffic. Hours of operation are Wednesday-Thursday 6 p.m.-2 a.m., Friday-Saturday 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

A Big Hand Bonus promotion pays up to $500 for full houses through royal flushes.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO KANSAS SPEEDWAY: Players can qualify into the Hollywood Poker Open freeroll through April 30 as 110 players will earn a spot. Call the poker room for details. Also, 10 players will qualify as wild-card entries through hot-seat drawings during cash games May 13-14.

This 12-table room offers Wi-Fi and provides USB chargers at every seat. At press time, the bad-beat jackpot, with a quads-beaten qualifier, was nearly $116K.

KANSAS STAR CASINO: Thursdays at this eight-table room are player-appreciation days. Food is served 5-8 p.m. and there is a Quad Squad Board (call for details). Saturday’s $100 high-hand promotion starts at 2 a.m.

Arizona

HARRAH'S AK-CHIN: As the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas approaches this summer, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort wants to remind Arizona players it hosts $1K WSOP satellites Wednesdays with an $80 buy-in and a 10K starting stack. The winner receives $200 and a $1K WSOP seat at the Rio. The poker room also has $1,500 satellites on Sundays. These are $120 buy-ins and the winner receives $250 and a $1,500 WSOP seat.

On May 21, Ak-Chin hosts a $10K WSOP main-event satellite. The buy-in is $350, which will get you 15K chips. The winner receives $500 and a $10K WSOP main-event seat. There will be two sessions (10 a.m., 2 p.m.) and the top 20 players, or all players remaining after three hours of play, move on to the finale. There’s a minimum of 50 players needed to hold this event and a maximum of 140 players accepted. If there are more than 100 participants, the top two players each receive a seat.

TALKING STICK RESORT: Nick Cipiti won the fifth annual Winter Poker Classic Main Event at the Arena Poker Room and $21,492. There were 366 entrants in the $400 event, generating a $124K prize pool. With this much money at stake, there were multiple deals made at the final table. Following Cipiti were Shimon Kalifi ($18K), Ty Stafford ($18K), Jesse Espich ($5,155), Mike Porter ($5,155), Zachary Guinn ($5,155), Ryan Hughes ($5,155), David Fastow ($5,155), Christopher Gooden ($5,155) and Richard Ross ($5,155).

Moussa Haddad, Lawrence Pettit, Nancy Patterson, Hunter Zuber, Juan Sosa, Vladimir Fomine, Jeffrey Wilson, Marcello Campbell, Douglas May and John Kreidler each made $1,282 for 11th-20th.

The next large-scale event at TSR is the Getaway Classic, which runs April 15-17 (see the ad in our April issue). There will be a different NLHE tournament each day of the weekend beginning at 11:15 a.m. Friday is a $200 buy-in, Saturday and Sunday are each $300.

HON-DAH: Charlie Perea is the poker room’s latest Tournament of Champions winner. Also, this month’s featured promotion is the Big Game Hunt. Fill out your “hunting license” with selected qualifying hands and trade in completed licenses for cash. Contact the poker room for details.

Colorado

BLACK HAWK: Ameristar’s bad-beat jackpot (quad deuces) was at $282K at press time. The new mini-bad beat was at $25K with weekly descending qualification from aces full of kings to aces full of jacks. … TheGolden Gates Poker Parlor enjoyed another banner turnout for the Heartland Poker Tour in late February. Colorado residents had a tremendous showing, taking the first seven places of the main event (781 players), which enjoyed the 10th consecutive $1M-plus prize pool. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Thomas made his first major tournament win a memorable one, taking $247K south on Interstate 25 to
Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs.

Matthew Livingston of Windsor, Colo., netted $153K for second. Rich Monroe, a familiar face at Golden Gates, from Sedalia, Colo., was third ($100K). Al Hart of Centennial, Colo., was fourth ($69K). Joseph Pergola of Boulder, Colo., took home $51K for fifth while Danny Gonzales, another Golden Gates regular, from Denver was sixth ($39K). Rounding out the Colorado Seven was Chris Busch of Silverthorne ($32K).

CRIPPLE CREEK: TheMidnight RosePoker Room hosts the Colorado State tournament April 17-May 1. With two events per day at $110 each (except for the $500 main), this popular series provides a convenient venue for players from Pueblo and Colorado Springs. Details at triplecrowncasinos.com. … Wildwood Casino continues to feature hourly $50 high hands on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Also, Friday, Saturday and Sunday deepstack tournaments are drawing good-sized crowds.

New Mexico

BUFFALO THUNDER RESORT AND CASINO: The poker room is promotingFuel Up, where players who earn 25 points, depending on player-card level, receive $5-$15 off gas purchase at the property’s stations. Also, Spring Fever Race for Cash pays players $35-$400 for playing live poker. Call for details.

Special cash games in April include $1-$2 PLO half and half on Wednesdays, $4-$8 Omaha on Thursdays, $1-$2 PLO/8 on Fridays and $3-$6 Omaha on Saturdays.

Special tournaments begin April 23 with a bounty event, including bounties on a radio DJ and possible five other players. TheLast Saturday of the Month deepstack is April 30 and comes with a $150 buy-in for 15K chips.

Sunday nights are $30 tourneys with unlimited $20 rebuys the first hour and one $25 add-on at the end of the first hour. Tourneys are every evening and buy-ins range from $30-$75, including an Omaha/8 event on Thursdays. Players are encouraged to earn 1K bonus chips for two hours’ live play before these tournaments begin.

As for promotions, the first seven players seated and playing by 10 a.m. receive $25 in chips for a $50 buy-in. The Thursday Omaha games pay $20 in chips to the first seven players ready by 3 p.m.

ROUTE 66 CASINO: In the special Player of the Year promo, every player who finishes in the top five of any tournament earns points, which will result in payouts for top spots at the end of the promotional period. Call for details.

NORTHERN EDGE NAVAJO CASINO: The room has a new schedule. It’s closed Monday and Thursday, open Sunday noon-10 p.m., Tuesday noon-3:30 a.m., Wednesday 6 p.m.- 3:30 a.m., Friday 3 p.m.-3:30 a.m. and Saturday noon-3:30 a.m.

ISLETA CASINO: Daily tournaments have buy-ins starting at $20. Live games include Omaha/8 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus the usual NLHE and limit hold’em. This poker room is open 24 hours Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday. Players are encouraged to call the poker hotline at 505-724-3874 to reserve seats.

SANTA ANA STAR CASINO: The poker area may be small, but it has a fine rewards program and $25 splash pots every hour on the half-hour.

INN OF THE MOUNTAIN GODS CASINO AND RESORT: The Road to the Main Event is April 23-24 (see ad Page 12). Early signups will be allowed until April 8. The buy-in is $330 and registration is in the poker room or call 575-464-7799. April and May will be the last months for this event. Sunday afternoons feature a $75 tournament plus an optional $5 dealer bonus. The One Twenty Tournament is every Friday (NLHE, but PLO/8 the last Friday of the month) for $120. Don’t forget about the Loser’s Lounge on Saturday mornings for those who didn’t cash on Friday night, another chance to win with no additional buy-in.

Meet Chris Hill

Chris Hill is semi-retired, but at one time he lived and worked in California, where he regularly played poker with high rollers of the movie industry. Limit $20-$40 games represented mere pennies to those players, but that amount could have easily meant a down payment on a car for him, so he quickly learned to play well. Others may have thought he was a natural, but he simply could not afford to lose and had the right amount of insanity to be successful. He became a prop player in Los Angeles, where he played well or could lose his bankroll.

He first played hold’em in 2006, but he’d put himself through school playing stud. A native of Washington D.C., living the past 17 years in Santa Fe, Buffalo Thunder has been his poker home for 10 years. He plays cash $5-$10 PLO two or three times a week because it’s the game with the most money on the table. Anyone who might think there’s less bluffing in Omaha than hold’em would be mistaken, Hill said. — Mary Bradley